Cancellations Don’t Mean Revenue Lost!

Cancellation Policies can be tricky, but with the correct approach they don’t have to mean lost revenue and they don’t have to mean upset clients.

The following simple steps help us avoid most of the issues that can arise when a client cancels after our predefined cancellation deadline (24hrs).  This can work for you too!

Step 1. CSRs (Customer Service Representatives) – whenever booking an appointment, always remind clients, “If for whatever reason you need to reschedule, please give us 24 hours notice so we can schedule someone else into that time slot”.  This will regularly remind them of the importance of advance notice and the value of our time and that we have a policy in place.

Step 2. Ask all of your trainers review your cancellation policy and the importance of explaining it during the comp session. Also, make sure that your cancellation policy is included in the documentation your clients sign when they first start working with you.

Step 3. When someone calls and short notice cancels, we always ask “Is there anything specific that you would like your trainer to work on during that time?”  That information is then relayed to the trainer who MUST use the time for the client since the client is paying for that time!

Step 4. When a client is clearly upset….

  • Listen to the clients’ concern
  • Paraphrase & Empathize with the clients’ concern
  • Then it’s our turn to explain our standpoint by…
    • First letting them know how much we appreciate them as a client and would never want to do anything that upset them so much that they didn’t want to train with us anymore
    • Then ask questions, state facts etc…
      • “Did you understand our cancellation policy?”
    • “Did you know that we used to have a 48 hour policy but in order to meet our customer needs but still maintain our viability as a business, we adjusted it to 24 hours but needed to be firm in that we could not waive the fee for whatever reason”
      • Can you understand how difficult it is to judge whose cancellation fee is waived and when ie “She’s a good client, so we shouldn’t charge her” or “Well we shouldn’t charge if someone is sick but should if their kid is sick or there is an emergency at work or they have car troubles etc…” We didn’t want to be the judge in any of these situations so we have a firm policy but always agree to do something for our clients during that time so they don’t feel like they are paying for nothing…
      • Can you understand the difficulty in maintaining a viable business if without a cancellation policy we would lose 25-40% of our revenues each week due to cancellations?
      • Is there anything that we could do better for you when you do have to short notice cancel so you feel you still get value from the time?
  • Hopefully by this point they feel like they’ve been listened to, we understand their concerns and they better understand our situation. We can finish the conversation by again stating how much we appreciate them as a client and will continue to do whatever we can to take care of them and ensure they are getting fabulous results.

It is important for our clients to remember that even if they do need to “late” cancel, their trainer will take that time to work on their file, email alternate workouts etc.

This approach normally does the trick.  We receive the 24 hour notice we need to run a successful business and our clients  understand why we must stick to our policy.

Working with a client that is still upset after trying these 4 steps?  Stay tuned for next weeks blog post to learn what to do if all else fails…

Are you taking precious time out of your schedule to create policies, procedures, forms and systems?  Want more time and revenue to enjoy life and your work?  We can help!  The Business of Personal Training System has all of the forms, documents, procedures and systems you need to run a highly successful fitness business.  Why reinvent the wheel?  Take your business to the next level with the same system we use to generate $1 Million in PT revenue every year…out of our 5,000 sq ft facility!



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